Butter Up

Toronto’s most decadent croissants, in order of deliciousness

Fleur du Jour’s almond croissant

15 Paris-trained baker Riane Georges Ikiouane and wife Clara McBride opened this St. Clair West patisserie in 2017, showcasing Ikiouane’s knack for both modern innovation and classic French tradition. We’re happiest when munching on one of his buttery almond croissants, which are generously blitzed with slivers of sweet, crunchy nuts held together by almond cream. $4.75. 603 St. Clair Ave. W., fleurdujour.ca

Bake Code Vietnamese coffee croissant

14 This mini-chain marries European viennoiserie technique with a wanderlusty range of fillings, including Filipino ube, Thai milk tea and, our favourite, Vietnamese coffee. The smoky flavour is distilled into an icing on the surface, and a coffee custard filling. As a finishing touch, it comes with a little DIY pipette of condensed milk. $5.20. Various locations, bakecode.com

Geste Croissanterie’s butter croissant

13 Virgyl Fernandes opened this Little Portugal patisserie in late 2020 to showcase his interesting, rotating takes on treats—cronuts, cruffins and pastry-wrapped seekh kebabs, a real upgrade to your average pig in a blanket. But we’re here for the classic croissant. Made using a preferment and high-fat butter, it’s lightly sweet with layers for days and a hypnotizing honeycomb. $3.95. 1183 Dundas St. W., geste-croissant.com

Robinson Bread’s hazelnut croissant

12 Before Patti Robinson had her own space, her freshly baked goods could be found at farmers’ markets and on the menus of west-end hot spots. Now, at the Parkdale address she shares with Sam James (a match made in heaven), Robinson makes all manner of loaves along with a selection of sweets. Her stuffed hazelnut croissant—filled with a seasonal preserve like cranberry-vanilla—tastes like toast and jam two-point-oh. $4.75. 6 Brock Ave., robinsonbread.com

Bonjour Brioche’s butter croissant

11 This Queen East landmark has been serving buttery French baked goods for nearly 25 years. The butter croissants may appear slightly more petite than what passes for today’s more maximalist versions, but their dense layers are no less rich than the finest in town, and the baked-to-perfection exteriors have just the right amount of shatter on contact. In a city where a top-notch croissant can fetch top dollar, they’re a steal at $3.15. 812 Queen St. E., bonjourbrioche.com

Black Pony’s dijon cheddar onion croissant

10 Little India’s quirkily beloved Flying Pony Café changed hands and underwent a makeover in 2020. When it reopened in 2021, locals were relieved to find that baker Jennifer Beaudoin’s sweet and savoury goodies were still on the daytime menu. We like the one that holds at its core a chutney of grainy dijon mustard and caramelized onions, with white cheddar inside and out, giving it a superbly crunchy roof. $4.75. 1481 Gerrard St. E., blackponybar.ca

Noctua’s churro croissant

9 This is what happens when a croissant spends its gap year abroad. Inside his new Junction bakery, Venezuela-born Daniel Sáez turns out loaves of sourdough, brioche bacon-and-egg buns, and these crazy-good croissants, coated in cinnamon, sugar and cardamom, and piped with dulce de leche. Think it sounds a little extra? It is, but we have no objection to that. $5.50. 3014 Dundas St. W., noctuabreadproject.com

Blackbird Baking Co.’s butter croissant

8 Sourdough is what Simon Blackwell is best known for, but Blackbird’s pastry game is so strong, the Kensington shop is now a pastry-only production space. (These days, the Riverside bakery is where the bread is born.) The chubby croissants, made with high-fat butter and a blend of fancy flours, are cartoonishly perfect—and they taste as good as they look. $3.15. 172 Baldwin St., blackbirdbakingco.com

Cherry Bomb’s butter croissant

7 Since 2005, this Roncesvalles coffee roaster has been caffeinating locals and satisfying their carb cravings with all manner of croissants, including ones stuffed with gruyere and brie. We’re partial to their classic butter and not just because it looks like a cute little crab. This oh-so-buttery, melt-in-your mouth pastry is the Stretch Armstrong of croissants, with a very impressive, almost pizza-cheese-like pull. $2.50. 79 Roncesvalles Ave., cherrybombcoffee.ca

Patisserie 27’s cheddar beer croissant

6 Ten years in and there’s never not a line outside Azumi Kimura and Walter Sallese’s Baby Point patisserie. Our favourite of their buttery bunch is made with an Indie Alehouse porter—which helps create light and flaky layers so tight they look like the rings of a tree—and cheddar, for a deeply savoury pastry sporting a lacy, cheesy skirt. $4.25. 401 Jane St., patisserie27.com

Duo Patisserie Polonais croissant

5 With its location just off the 404 at Highway 7, there’s a good chance the croissants at this Thornhill patisserie are at least partly responsible for the gridlock. These are destination pastries, foremost of which is the Polonais croissant. It’s a double-baked version of Eric Chan’s impeccable butter croissant, filled with hazelnut cream and a kick of rum, then shingled with sliced-open hazelnuts and dusted with powdered sugar. $5.75. 230 Commerce Valley Dr. E., Thornhill, duopatisserie.com

Mon K Patisserie butter croissant

4 This tiny East York patisserie is easily spotted by the lineup it draws on weekend mornings. And while the offerings include an assortment of Franco-Japanese creations, Ryosuke Kita’s crackly-tender croissants are a major source of the buzz. They stretch like gourmet Silly Putty when teased apart, giving each bite a pleasurable balance between shattering crunch and indulgent smoosh. $3. 1040 Coxwell Ave., monkpatisserie.ca

Le Conciliabule’s Triple Cheese Croissant

3 At their bistro-bakery-bottle shop on the edge of Little India, Manon Tournayre and Charles Boggio fill these conch-shaped specimens with brie, cheddar, Swiss and lots of butter, before adorning their faces with a mask of poppy seeds. Served with tangy house-made pickle slices that we like to tuck inside the honeycomb interior, these babies exemplify a stellar—albeit over the top—blend of classic and avant-garde technique. $4.50. 1300 Gerrard St. E., leconciliabuleto.com

Tasso’s natural croissant

2 The pleasing aromas of butter and baking sugar are unmistakable (even through an N-95) at this tiny Cabbagetown croissant specialist. Everything sells out online, days in advance. But it’s worth the early planning for Mike and Olyana Tasso’s signature “natural” croissants, the result of a three-day process that produces a beautifully lacquered, impossibly buttery bite, with the perfect amount of shatter and a lingering hint of sweetness that plays nicely with all that glorious richness. $4.50. 540 Parliament St., tassobaking.com

Emmer’s pistachio croissant

1 Everything Philip Haddad makes at his Harbord Street bakery tastes like magic, but there’s a reason for the two-per-party limit on the pistachio croissants. The glittering green, double-baked beauties are bedazzled with Sicilian pistachios—vibrant and creamy frangipane inside, a coat of crunchy nut nubbins outside—making them textural marvels worthy of their hefty price tag. But line up before 9 a.m. if you want one, or risk having this croissant dream dashed. $9. 161 Harbord St., emmertoronto.ca